|Fitbit Acquires Pebble, Alienates Pebble Fans
By: Mike Bush
The idea that Fitbit would be acquiring Pebble, makers of the super-successful Kickstarter smartwatch, has been written about pretty heavily in the tech space. As far as secrets go, this one was about as poorly kept as is possible to imagine.
However, the actual communications around the formal agreement leave something to be desired. A lot to be desired, in fact.
A note from Pebble, sent to Kickstarter backers, starts by saying something like “sorry we haven’t communicated with you in a while,” and continues:
Due to various factors, Pebble can no longer operate as an independent entity, and we have made the tough decision to shut down the company….Pebble is ceasing all hardware operations.
The vaguery itself is annoying, but it’s the last part, “ceasing all hardware operations,” that stings the most. Pebble has already been paid for the watches that are now in the “ceased operations,” and while the note does acknowledge that refunds will be handled by March (wait…March? It’s going to take three and a half months to refund people for a product you’re not delivering?), Fitbit is making a mistake here.
If you know anyone with a Pebble, you know a few things about them:
And in closing the doors and shutting the lights off, Fitbit just crapped all over us. Today’s note leaves Pebble users, those people who actually buy wearables and tell their friends about them, feeling a little like jilted lovers.
- They will speak at length about how it’s the most amazing, life-altering device in the whole world. Really. The day that their Pebble arrived is right up there next to their wedding and the birth of their child. I know this because I am one of these people.
- We will try to get people to buy a Pebble in the same way that cults try to get new members. We’re not “brand ambassadors,” we’re fanatics like the people you see dressed up for an Oakland Raiders game.
Instead of fulfilling the run and building an army of advocates who “were lucky enough to get the last Pebble run” and who can’t say enough about it and who “are really excited by how Fitbit will roll these new features into its next product," Fitbit created an army of jilted lovers.
You know who doesn’t go out of their way to say nice things about you?
Your jilted lover.
The way this entire thing has been handled bungled is pretty terrible. The way that Fitbit is treating a loyal fanbase, however, is abysmal.
Sent from my new Apple Watch
Mike Bush is a PR and Marketing freelancer with more than a dozen years of experience in the field. Find him on and connect Twitter @mikebush or at www.mikebush.nyc.
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